R. Powell Black

July 20, 1921 ~ July 21, 2020 (age 99)


Sumter, SC…R. Powell Black, age 99, passed away on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at Covenant Place.

Mr. Black was born in Pulaski, Virginia on July 20, 1921. A son of Ernest Glen and Jennie Lewis Powell Black, he was predeceased by Mildred Webster Black, his wife of fifty-six years, his parents and his brother, Lewis Glenn Black, of  Drexel Hill, PA.

He is survived by his wife Claire Duplessis Wand Black of the home and five children: Ralph Powell “Tim” (Grizelda) Black, Jr. of Austin , TX; Susan (Rodney) Stalheim of Lenoir, NC; Ellen (Joe) Tyner of Florence, SC; Lee (Johnny) Alford of Sumter, SC; and Kathy (Steve) Matis of Charlotte, NC as well as 10 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Also, stepchildren and their spouses, Donald (Kathleen) Wand; Michelle Herod; Anne (Max) Goodson; Connie (Butch) Robertson; Chris Wand; Stephen (Julie) Wand; Jennifer Hicks; and Catherine (Dave) McInnis. He is also survived by 17 step-grandchildren and 21 step-great grandchildren. 

Mr. Black was reared in the Baptist Orphanage of Virginia, in Salem, VA from 1924 until he graduated from high school in 1939. He was an initial inductee into Salem’s Hall of Frame. He attended National Business College in Roanoke, VA. 

With the outbreak of World War II in December of 1941, he volunteered and served four years, in the United States Navy, primarily in the Pacific Theater. He was discharged in December, 1945 with a ranking of Petty Officer First Class. In 1947, he joined the Naval Reserve and was commissioned as Lieutenant, Senior Grade in 1957. He eventually rose in rank to that of Captain (O6) and served a total of thirty-two years in the Naval Reserve. He retired in 1981 with several medals for his service.

In 1947, he was appointed manger of Roanoke, Virginia’s Housing Program for returning WWII war veterans. In 1950, he was appointed assistant to the City Manager of Alexandria, VA and became the City Manager of Jasper, AL in 1951. He subsequently served as City Manager of Athens, TN; Aiken, SC; Dothan, AL; Florence, SC; and Sumter, SC, where he retired after thirty years of municipal service.

Following his retirement, he founded Carolina Municipal Advisors, advising South Carolina cities and towns and publishing municipal Codes of Ordinances. He was a life member of International City/County Management Association. Mr. Black dedicated more than half a century to municipal governance, including more than thirty years in South Carolina, his adopted home state.

He was elected president of the City Managers Associations in Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. His many years of service were recognized by various organizations, including Who's Who in South Carolina, Who’s Who in South and Southwest, South Carolina Lives and Personalities of the South. 

In 1992, Mr. Black was chosen by People to People, an organization founded by former President Eisenhower, to represent the Southeastern United States to Ukrainian cities and towns of the former Soviet Union. He advised them on the advantages of changing their local governments from communism to democracy using as examples the three forms of municipal government authorized in South Carolina.

Mr. Black was a life-long Southern Baptist and a member of Wise Drive Baptist Church where he served as Chairman of the Deacons, Church Clerk for sixteen years, Sunday School teacher, member of the choir and men’s quartet, as well as, chairman of numerous committees. In 2002, he represented the South Carolina Baptist Association on a mission trip of Taiwan. He was a life member of the Christian Business Men’s Committee. 

A private graveside service will be held on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 10:00 am in the Evergreen Memorial Park Mausoleum with the Reverend Dr. Dearld B. Sterling officiating.  You may view the service live at by clicking on the obituary of Mr. R. Powell Black.

All attendees are asked to wear masks and maintain social distancing during the graveside services.

Serving, as pallbearers will be his grandsons, Ralph Powell “Trey" Black III, Martin Stalheim, Ken Tyner, Justin Matis, Michael Matis and Seth Reimer.

Honorary pallbearers will be the members and spouses of the Dirty Dozen golf club.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wise Drive Baptist Church, 2751 South Wise Drive, Sumter, SC 29150, Covenant Place H.E.G.F. (Hourly Employee Gift Fund), 2825 Carter Road, Box 202, Sumter, SC 29150 or the charity of one’s choice.

The family would like to express a special thank you to the staff of Covenant Place for their loving and compassionate care.

You may go to and sign the family’s guest book.

The family has chosen Bullock Funeral Home of Sumter for the arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of R. Powell Black, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
July 24, 2020

10:00 AM
Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery
802 N Guignard Drive
Sumter, SC 29150

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